06 November 2008

The Election. What Else?

Over the past two days, it seems that all anybody has talked about is the election. At the college, of course, just about everyone is happy that Barack Obama won. In fact, only one of my students expressed any support for John McCain. And, no great surprise, no faculty or staff member voiced any desire to vote for Sarah Palin's running mate.

In some way, I'm glad that Barack won. It's not so much a matter of his skin color or that he's a Democrat. The student body at the college is about 80 percent black. So, interestingly enough, are the administration and the lower-tier staff members. But the faculty--yes, including me--are about as overwhelmingly white as the rest of the college is black.

And that, to me, is a microcosm of this country right now. Yes, we will have a black man at the top. And, perhaps, he will appoint some African American cabinet members. But most of the people who are really running the show, if you will, are white. Somehow I don't see that changing much, if at all.

Don't get me wrong: I think Obama may well be a great leader. And I think he's about as good a human being as we have had, or will have in such a high office. At least, I don't see how he can't be more mendacious than either Bush or Cheyney have been. But, as so many people have already noted, some monumental, if not impossible tasks face him.

Most people, when they say that, are referring to such things as the economy and disentangling this country from Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. Surely those are, and will continue to be, Sisyphean tasks. Even Obama himself said that they won't be solved in a year, or during one (He didn't say "my first.") presidential term.

But here's the real problem: This culture is spiritually broken. I am not religious, but I am entirely sure that whatever force makes life possible, much less meaningful, is something from which this country has been alienated. How else can that relationship be right now? This country got into two wars because of lies our leaders told. And decision-makers in government and businesses loaned money to people who didn't qualify for a listing in the White Pages, then hid those loans in packages of other loans and sold them.ow.

At least Obama seems to be listening to people and leveling with them. And I get the feeling that he might be, as some people have suggested, a "healer." I hope so: It's exactly what we neeed right now, not just for this country, but for the sake of the people. There won't be material prosperity or any kind of security as long as this country is spiritually sick.

Now, as to whether Barack's election will usher in a way for a transgendered person to become President....

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